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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Devon G Pena
CHSTU 320
Seattle Campus

Food Sovereignty Movements in Mexico and the United States

Interdisciplinary study of agrifood systems and food sovereignty movements in Mexico and Mexican-origin communities in the United States. Uses the methods and materials of ethnography, agroecology, and political ecology in concert with environmental history, rural sociology, deconstructive discourse analysis, eco-criticism, and predictive ecology. Offered: A.

Class description

A research seminar on the interdisciplinary study of agrifood systems and food sovereignty movements seen through the lens of conditions and experiences related to Mexico and Mexican-origin peoples in the United States. Using the methods and materials of ethnography, agroecology, and political ecology in concert with environmental history, rural sociology, deconstructive discourse analysis, eco-criticism, and predictive ecology, the seminar explores civil society challenges to dominant structures, policies, and organizations

Student learning goals

Understand the differences between agroecology and biotechnology paradigms

Understand theoretical concepts imporatant to the study of food in Chicana/o and Mexican history, culture, and politics.

Develop skills in the critical reading of texts.

Develop writing skills through essay wiring for publication in a blog.

Demonstrate the ability to connect food studies with a cooking demonstration.

General method of instruction

1. Weekly topical lecture by instructor 2. Seminar-styled discussion sessions combined with student-led presentations (critical reading summaries).

Recommended preparation

No pre-requisites

Class assignments and grading

1. Take-home mid-term and final exams including 20 concept definitions and 3 short essay response sections (50 percent of grade)

2.Guest op-ed piece for ‘ejfood’ blog. An op-ed piece (3-5 pages, double-spaced) on a struggle for food sovereignty or a related ‘human right to food’ topic in Mexico and/or the U.S. Subject to editing before posting to the blog. (20%)

3.Cuisine (cooking) demonstration. Students will organize into groups of 3 members. Each group will identify a ‘deep’ or ‘hybrid’ food of the Pacific Northwest and explore the ‘natural history,’ ethnobotany, agroecology, and ethnogastronomy of the food. Each group will identify the ingredients used in preparing and then presenting a recipe to the class. A brief typed group report (7-10 pages) and PowerPoint presentation are required for full credit. (30%)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Devon G Pena
Date: 10/10/2013